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Immigration Law

USCIS Policy Alert: False Claim to U.S. Citizenship Ground of Inadmissibility and Matter of Zhang

USCIS, Apr. 24, 2020

"U.S. citizenship confers important rights and responsibilities. In recognition of this, Congress provided a specific ground of inadmissibility to address when an alien falsely claims to be a U.S. citizen for any purpose or benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or any other federal or state law. This ground of inadmissibility applies to false claims to U.S. citizenship made on or after September 30, 1996. If found inadmissible under this ground, the alien is permanently barred from admission and, in most cases, there is no immigrant waiver available. However, there may be a narrow exception available to certain aliens who permanently resided in the United States before turning 16 years of age. On June 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) clarified in Matter of Zhang that an alien’s false claim to U.S. citizenship does not need to be knowingly made to give rise to immigration consequences. Accordingly, USCIS is incorporating this BIA decision into Volume 8 of the Policy Manual. The guidance contained in the Policy Manual is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance on the topic."